Monday, December 22, 2014

Congress takes Family Farmers and Ranchers for a Ride | Center for Rural Affairs

Congress takes Family Farmers and Ranchers for a Ride | Center for Rural Affairs



What does Congress have against family farmers and ranchers? The $1.1 trillion spending bill passed last week included the full version of the so-called GIPSA rider passed earlier by the House of Representatives. A rider is a legislative provision attached to a larger spending bill.
There are not enough ways to describe how bad this hidden policy package truly is. It limits USDA’s ability to protect farmers’ and ranchers’ basic rights, such as their freedom of speech and freedom of association. The Packers and Stockyards Act, passed in 1921, was written to protect farmers and ranchers from discriminatory, deceptive and abusive practices when they sell livestock and poultry to meatpacking corporations.

Congress abandoned those principles when they passed the FY 2015 federal spending bill. They abandoned USDA’s effort to provide smaller volume livestock producers a more competitive livestock market and greater fairness for farmers and ranchers. The 2008 Farm Bill required Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack to write regulation, under the Packers and Stockyards Act, to prohibit undue and discriminatory preferences given to large, industrial livestock operations and to provide basic protections to farmers and ranchers who do business with meatpacking corporations. Secretary Vilsack proposed the best and most comprehensive livestock market reforms since the passage of the Packers and Stockyards Act.

Unfortunately, Congress has repeatedly undercut his efforts. Family farmers and ranchers, need and deserve access to competitive livestock markets that reward them fairly for their work. That’s something Congress must figure out, soon.

Infrastructure advances in the rest-of-the-world will blow your mind.

Infrastructure advances in the rest-of-the-world will blow your mind.



"While we're "debating" torture, access to basic health care and the veracity of climate change, the rest-of-the-world is simply advancing transformational infrastructure like you would not believe."



"The clock is ticking. The rest-of-the-world is not waiting while the United States "debates" the future. It is building the future."................." These developments aren't just cool -- as in fast trains and long distances -- but they herald the end of American economic dominance; they are concrete symbols of our relative decline versus the other great nations -- and regions -- of the world.

All these interlocked developments suggest a geopolitical tectonic shift in Eurasia that the American media simply hasn't begun to grasp. Which doesn't mean that no one notices anything. You can smell the incipient panic in the air in the Washington establishment. The Council on Foreign Relations is already publishing laments about the possibility that the former sole superpower's exceptionalist moment is "unraveling." The US-China Economic and Security Review Commission can only blame the Chinese leadership for being "disloyal," adverse to "reform," and an enemy of the "liberalization" of their own economy.
The usual suspects carp that upstart China is upsetting the "international order," will doom "peace and prosperity" in Asia for all eternity, and may be creating a "new kind of Cold War" in the region. From Washington's perspective, a rising China, of course, remains the major "threat" in Asia, if not the world, even as the Pentagon spends gigantic sums to keep its sprawling global empire of bases intact. Those Washington-based stories about the new China threat in the Pacific and Southeast Asia, however, never mention that China remains encircled by US bases, while lacking a base of its own outside its territory.
Yes, the rest-of-the-world has problems -- many of which are worse than our own: horrid unemployment in Italy, extreme gun violence in Brazil, horrific absolute poverty in China -- but, and this is crucial, even as they grapple with these challenges, they are still investing in the future -- in long-lasting ways. And, worst of all from the perspective of the United States, they are doing so to the exclusion of our nation: leaving behind our companies, our people, any concern for our relevance.
The United States is being left behind. We will -- absent major change -- never be able to catch up with the infrastructure of Asia and Europe, given current political conditions in this country. And the most tragic part of this decline is that it's being actively promoted by our leaders."







Top Ten Lists - Merriam-Webster Online

Top Ten Lists - Merriam-Webster Online Top Ten Words-of-the-Year



I thought "Culture" was a great choice for #1 on this list---

         

1: Culture

Culture is a big word at back-to-school time each year, but this year lookups extended beyond the academic calendar. The term conveys a kind of academic attention to systematic behavior and allows us to identify and isolate an idea, issue, or group: we speak of a "culture of transparency" or "consumer culture."Culture can be either very broad (as in "celebrity culture" or "winning culture") or very specific (as in "test-prep culture" or "marching band culture").
This year, the use of the word culture to define ideas in this way has moved from the classroom syllabus to the conversation at large, appearing in headlines and analyses across a wide swath of topics.

Full Show: The New Robber Barons | Moyers & Company | BillMoyers.com

Full Show: The New Robber Barons | Moyers & Company | BillMoyers.com

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Colliding atmospheres: Mars vs Comet Siding Spring

"It is possible," says Brain, "that the atmosphere of the comet will interact with the atmosphere of Mars. This could lead to some remarkable effects—including Martian auroras."



Colliding atmospheres: Mars vs Comet Siding Spring